Fresh funding has enabled a popular residential solar programme in Long Island to restart after it was suspended due to rising demand and budget constraints at the end of last month.
The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) announced on Monday that it will provide the Long Island Power Authority (LIPA) with $5 million to sustain funding for the Solar Pioneer rebate programme until the end of the year while decision-makers consider the long-term structure of the state’s solar programmes. The funding will be available from 23 September and is being provided with auction proceeds from the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI).
Long Island’s Solar Pioneer programme is part of the statewide NY-Sun Initiative, a public-private partnership launched in 2012. NY-Sun has resulted in nearly 300MW of new solar capacity installed and under development in New York. Governor Andrew Cuomo has committed to extending NY-Sun until 2023.
Peter Olmsted, east coast policy advocate for the Vote Solar Initiative, said: “Governor Cuomo’s NY-Sun was designed to do something remarkable: to transform the state’s energy landscape by making rooftop solar a cost-competitive option for New Yorkers. And the state’s home-grown solar industry is quickly delivering on that promise.
“By providing stability in the steps toward market transformation, this near-term extension of the Solar Pioneer programme will deliver long-term dividends to New Yorkers in the form of energy resiliency, a healthy environment and quality jobs.”
NYSERDA and LIPA currently each offer separate solar incentive programmes. But in an effort to advance the NY-Sun initiative, NYSERDA is seeking to identify the merits and potential for greater efficiencies and success with a more coordinated statewide PV incentive programme.
Richard Kauffman, chairman of NYSERDA, said: “I am pleased that with this funding the state will be able to continue assisting Long Islanders in making solar power an affordable energy option, and will send a signal to the thriving solar industry across the state that we will take steps to reduce the likelihood of market disruptions.
“Under Governor Cuomo’s NY-Sun initiative, the state is committed to investing in this renewable energy resource to not only transform the solar market but to create green jobs and stimulate economic activity throughout New York.”
Since 2000, LIPA has provided financial incentives for the installation of more than 6,600 residential and commercial solar systems on Long Island. LIPA expanded its solar programmes last year by establishing the state’s first feed-in tariff for mid-to-large solar installations and by allowing residential solar leasing. More PV systems are being developed since NY-Sun was launched in 2012 than in the entire prior decade.
Carrie Cullen Hitt, senior vice president at the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), said: “SEIA applauds New York for stepping up its commitment to clean solar energy. With this announcement and future commitments, New York is now a destination for new investment.”
Earlier this month, NYSERDA issued its vision for a long-term NY-Sun extension, released plans for Governor Cuomo’s $1 billion Green Bank and commenced a comprehensive review of the state’s Renewable Portfolio Standard and restructuring of its Energy Efficiency Portfolio Standard.